LA Semester Turns Entertainment Industry into a Learning Lab

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It’s not unusual to see a Syracuse University T-shirt pop up on a sitcom or hear a mention of SU in a drama, thanks to the number of alumni working in the entertainment industry.

SU’s launch of a satellite campus program leverages this vast alumni network. The LA Semester gives students from the College of Visual and Performing Arts and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications the opportunity to live the Hollywood life for an entire semester, and gain the real-life skills that will give them a leg up in an extremely competitive business.

The LA Semester immerses students in the day-to-day operations of one of the entertainment industry’s most powerful hubs. Each student’s semester is built around a 20-hours-per-week internship matched to his or her interests and abilities, in disciplines ranging from animation to film and television production, and music to emerging media.

LA Semester students also attend classes in the Toluca Lake district of North Hollywood, as well as on the Universal Studios Hollywood lot, and take online courses offered by the College of Arts and Sciences. Regular interaction with guest lecturers and industry leaders on the job helps them develop their own network of contacts that will serve them well after graduation.

The LA Semester was developed jointly by SU faculty and a distinguished group of Southern California alumni led by award-winning writer/producer Aaron Sorkin ’83; Rob Light ’78, managing partner of Creative Artists Agency; Brian Frons G’78, president, Daytime, Disney-ABC Television Group; and Larry Barron ’87, senior vice president of programming for FremantleMedia North America.

The first students to take advantage of the LA Semester discovered quickly how unique the program is. After attending a reception at Sorkin’s home in West Hollywood, Archie Page ’11 reported, “I realized how lucky I am to be at a school whose alumni are so accomplished and so willing to give back to students.”